Estate Sales & Family Inheritance, 3 Things you should know!

Unfortunately, these types of situations always follow a sad and dark family moment. By definition, an estate sale or “succession” sale happens after a loved one passes away. Sometimes you are simply the beneficiary of this person’s estate, and other times you are the liquidator of the estate. Yup, things can get confusing and complicated very quickly. Especially when you have a big family, or more than one liquidator or person in charge. Here are three things to think about and remember before embarking on the journey that is an estate sale!
1. Are you the only liquidator, or is there more than one?
Being the heir/beneficiary to a succession is one thing, it means that you inherit the deceased property, or profits from said property and probably some of their other belongings as well. Being the liquidator to someone’s succession has a whole different role! The liquidator to a succession is essentially exactly what the title makes it out to be. They are in charge of liquidating (selling) the deceased’s assets and collecting all of the profits that come from it. We often associate this to the liquidation or sale of property, but this also comes into play when talking about other belongings such as furniture, cars, stocks etc. The liquidators role is also to make sure that any form of debt that is owed is paid off and cleared before closing any and all estate accounts. This process can be very straightforward if there is only one liquidator, but can also become quite complex if there is more than one person in charge.
2. Selling the estate, how to go about it and who you should call?
Usually, to avoid conflict or complication, a family tends to decide to sell the property, and liquidate the rest of the assets as a means to keep things simple, and also use the money to pay off debts, funeral costs and then inherit the balance. The question is, how do you get there, and who do you call during the process? The first person to contact is definitely the deceased’s notary. They will assist the family by providing you with the last will and testament to be able to clarify who is and who is not a liquidator/beneficiary. They will also perform what is called a will search to make sure that the version of the will/testament in their possession is the last version of it, to make sure that the properties/powers are not being bestowed to the wrong people. This process usually takes about 21-30 days. The next person your family should call truly depends on what their intent for the property is. Once you have the notaries go ahead, your next contact should be a realtor. The real estate broker can sit with the family and justify the property’s value, give an insight on what can be done to help sell the property and take all the necessary steps to list and sell the property at the best possible value.
3. Don’t empty the house! At least not completely. 
One of the most common mistakes a family can make is emptying out the property… COMPLETELY. It is definitely understandable to want to get rid of some stock in a home once someone passes away and give it a nice clean up to help make it presentable and more appealing, but one of the worst things you can do is strip it of all its furniture and belongings. A home usually looks smaller when it is empty, and also shows more defect/irregularity because the eye has nowhere to look but directly at the floors, walls etc. Keeping some bigger pieces of furniture in the home for the sale process such as appliances, living room, dining room and primary bedroom set is always a good idea. If it’s too late and you’ve already emptied out the property, no worries! ask your broker to provide staging before selling!
There are definitely unknowns and more steps that can be necessary, but we are hoping that this gives you and your family a pretty clear idea of what exactly happens after someone passes away and what steps are necessary to get through the start of the process. For more information or questions, feel free to give us a call!